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Apr 02 2013

Pat Boone: Still a Nation Under God?

Pat Boone, who is an even worse columnist than he is a singer (and that’s saying a lot), has a Worldnutdaily column asking if we are “still one nation under God.” The answer is no, of course, nor were we ever, all empty slogans to the contrary. And he offers the same illogical argument that all theocrats do, that Jefferson used the word “creator” and therefore the Bible determines the limits of our rights.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Catch that word, their “Creator”? Our founders knew – and publicly proclaimed – that our rights, and life itself, flowed directly from the power and benevolence of our Creator! And that a democratic republic, unprecedented in human history, must be comprised of, and governed by, individuals who would diligently endorse and obey the rules laid out by that Creator for the continuance of that free society.

But Jefferson’s “creator” was not the same as the Christian God. He called the Christian God “cruel, capricious, vindictive and unjust,” the gospel writers a “band of dupes and impostors and Paul the “first great corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” And he believed that Jesus was not divine but was merely a man and that he had never claimed to be anything other than a man like you and me.

And if you really think the rules laid out in the Bible are necessary for “the continuance of that free society,” then we’ll need to bring back slavery (which is commanded repeatedly in the Bible, with not a single word against it) and eliminate the First Amendment because the very first commandment is “thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

There was no other way to perpetuate our new liberties, including equality for all citizens. That way was based completely on the Bible, and on the precepts God had revealed unmistakably in His Book. Without the Bible, we would never have had our Constitution.

Well sure. Because if the Constitution were based on the Bible, clearly it would not contain any references at all to the Bible or to any idea presented in the Bible. And when the men who wrote it explained to a predominately Christian population why they should vote for the Constitution in, say, the Federalist Papers, they would obviously not bother mentioning the Bible at all. It all stands to, err, reason.

Some revisionists today want you to believe otherwise. When I talked about this with Bill Maher, a cynical unbeliever, he sent me an Los Angeles Times article declaring that all the framers were deists or outright atheists, not Christians.

I’d be willing to bet this is a lie. I did a search of the LA Times for such an article. I did find one that talked about many of the key founders being deists and unitarians, but not atheists. Christopher Hitchens’ terrible blunder notwithstanding, no one really thinks the founders were atheists (though the Pat Boone’s of that day did accuse them of being so).

19 comments

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  1. 1
    Sastra

    Why can’t “the Creator” be another word for Nature? It works fine that way. We are natural creatures. Nature created us. Done.

    Theocrats do not like that interpretation, but it certainly comports more with theistic rationalism than does a God who only allows us to live on earth in order to learn the lesson that we are lowly slaves of a mighty Authority which must not be questioned and to whom we are obligated to submit.. Democracy didn’t go over too well in heaven, did it? You would think that Christians would notice something strange about insisting that the Bible is all about human freedom and liberty while they go around praising and ranting about their “King” and their “Lord.”

  2. 2
    raven

    Why can’t “the Creator” be another word for Nature? It works fine that way. We are natural creatures. Nature created us. Done.

    Works fine.

    My creator was in situ organic chemistry followed by 3.8 billion years of evolution.

    It also works if the creator is Zeus, Marduk, Ahura Mazda, Aten, Osiris, Xrpmrt, or Odin. There are thousands of gods, which Boone ignores completely.

  3. 3
    jenny6833a

    There’s not much practical difference between “not believing in a god” and “believing in a god who doesn’t interact with the universe or anything in it.”

    As for Hitchens, he was certainly wrong if he claimed that ALL the founders were atheists. It’s far less certain that none of them were. After all, they had to cater to the superstitions of the masses just as modern politicians must.

  4. 4
    Akira MacKenzie

    Sastra @ 1

    Why can’t “the Creator” be another word for Nature?

    Because mute, indifferent, unconscious nature can’t be evoked as a final, infaliable, and unquestionable authority to threaten people into living how Mr. Boone and his fellow Christains think we should. That’s why.

  5. 5
    John Pieret

    Why can’t “the Creator” be another word for Nature?

    Well, the Declaration actually starts out:

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    So I think Jefferson, at least, and likely many of the signers, thought that nature and god were pretty synonymous.

  6. 6
    Kevin

    This is what happens when you think your god’s name is “God”.

  7. 7
    cptdoom

    And that a democratic republic, unprecedented in human history, must be comprised of, and governed by, individuals who would diligently endorse and obey the rules laid out by that Creator for the continuance of that free society.

    Wait, is Mr. Boone claiming that Mormons, Christian Scientists, Scientologists, members of the Assemblies of God, followers of Rick Warren and Joel Osteen, not to mention all those who attend nondenominational/evangelical “Christian” churches, are not good Americans? After all, there is no way that they could be trying to “endorse and obey the rules laid out by that Creator,” as all those religions were created after the founding, and therefore must be worshipping some other “god,” right?

  8. 8
    hexidecima

    Pat Boone is still alive?

    Poor pitiful Christians. They insist that they are the largest religion, say that the US is “Christian Nation” but when the poor things can’t force their particular version of their religion on others, oh the martyrdom comes pouring down. Poor things then magiaclly become a “minority” and “martyrs”.

  9. 9
    bahrfeldt

    Pat is old enough to remember that there was no “under God” included in the pledge during WWII, nor was there “in God we trust” on our paper money. No doubt that’s why we lost the war. Does he object to the radical theists who so recently imposed these blasphemies on our nation?

    Does he fight against the policies of the earlier radicals who imposed the Pope’s “Lord’s Day” in direct opposition to the Biblical Sabbath? Or those who have continued to have us violate the Biblical dietary laws, prohibitions against manufactured idols or killing of others or blending of fabrics? No? Curious.

  10. 10
    mikeyb

    Even if I granted that the founders were theocrats, which I don’t, why exactly does it matter? That was then, this is now.

  11. 11
    matty1

    I think he is getting the emphasis wrong. TJ was promoting two ideas that were radical to his contemporaries, equality (yes he was a hypocrite on that one) and inalienable rights. The references to creation are little more than filler using standard language of the time. It’s as if he had mentioned sunrise in there and people were treating the declaration as a treatise on the Copernican hypothesis.

  12. 12
    Modusoperandi

    This is the same “free society” that spent a majority of its history with some people owning other people, right?

  13. 13
    Randomfactor

    The Declaration of Independence is a marketing document, intended to rouse support for the cause. That’s why it mentions “creator” and “God.” Nowadays it would include “new” and “improved.”

    The Constitution is a working document. That’s why such silliness is conspicuously left out.

    I think Tommy J. would’ve been an atheist had he known about Darwin back in his day. He’d have immediately recognized the truth of evolution by natural selection, and realized that the mental reservation that caused people to embrace deism was unnecessary.

  14. 14
    jws1

    This whole derivation of rights business came up in another post a few weeks back. I don’t remember the commenter (I want to say it was sastra, but that could be wrong) pointed out that rights are contractually derived from equals, and since god is no equal to humans, negotiations cannot be had – only permission granted from the god. Rights are different than permission – a thought that escapes the religious.

  15. 15
    pamsmigh

    My “creator” was my mother, but thanks for playing, Pat.

  16. 16
    dingojack

    “And that a democratic republic, unprecedented in human history, must be comprised of, and governed by, individuals who would diligently endorse and obey the rules laid out by that Creator for the continuance of that free society.”

    Well, with the exceptions of The City-state of Athens, The Roman Republic, The City State of Novogrod, the Island Republic of Iceland (the oldest Parliament in the world don’t you know! Dating to the 10th century, eight hundred years before the US) and all the rest. Yep totally unprecedented, Patty-cake.

    pamsmigh – you’re parthenogenetically produced! How interesting!

    Dingo

  17. 17
    anandine

    As Dawkins pointed out, until Darwin explained natural selection, creation by a god was the best available answer to the problem of how the complexity of life arose. Now it is not.

  18. 18
    fifthdentist

    @ Dingo,
    There also were some Native American bodies that were more democratic that what existed in Europe at the time the first illegal aliens from there landed in ‘Murka.
    But, then, those were all things that happened in foreign countries a long time ago, and your average fundie knows little about what happened yesterday in the next town down the road, much less in those commie countries that God went to the trouble to separate from us with wide oceans so they can’t get their socialist cooties on us.

  19. 19
    birgerjohansson

    The Swiss still have their city-state coalition after something like 800 years.
    Moar robust than ´Murka, they have not even had a civil war.
    — — — — — — — — — —
    I think the original creator was Chronos, who made the world from Chaos before being murdered by Zeus.
    — — — — — — — — — —
    Eridu from Sumeria might also have been involved.

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